Dinner and Discourse opens up conversations around what it means to be a “Modern Indian”

By Aalhad Patankar

Shipra Mathur and Krittika Khandelwal, hosts of the “Modern Indian” podcast.

A lively and casual conversation blossomed around the large, wooden conference table, dissecting one topic: who and what is a modern Indian?

Participants engaged in a lively, moderated discussion.
Seated at the center were the night’s featured guests, Shipra Mathur and Krittika Khandelwal, hosts of the “The Modern Indian” podcast. Delicious Indian pizza and sabzis, donated by Kinara Fusion Kitchen and Curry Up Now, respectively provided the fuel.

The conversation, curated by Leadership Council moderators Shalisha Madella and Aalhad Patankar, was engaging, and the attendees ended up staying past the allotted time to continue over a range of topics and good food.

Shipra and Krittika first addressed the core of “The Modern Indian”: how and why did the podcast existed? The two shared their quintessentially SF meet-cute: swiping right on each other through a networking app. To their mutual surprise, the “first date” quickly morphed into a three-hour conversation that spanned politics, culture and their backgrounds.

The Discourse began in earnest. Attendees dove in with questions from around the room: how does one connect, bond and share with parents born in a different country and era? What has Indianness become through the lense of popular and mainstream culture, and where do we, as South Asian Americans, want to direct it? In an increasingly diverse global diaspora, which cultural aspects can, should, and do we want to preserve, and which aspects can be safely discarded?

The questions posed as well as the responses suggested something interesting.

The discussion was robust and attendees jumped in with questions and personal anecdotes.

Despite the homogeneity of Indians as represented in the media, there was an amazing amount of diversity in experiences and backgrounds at the dinner alone. However, common threads and a sense of shared experience emerged as well, from the ‘big stuff’ such as maintaining a relationship with a country one may not have been to in a long time (or ever) to the ‘small stuff’, such as the concept of IST (Indian Standard Time).

The event went right up to the buzzer, as participants still had questions till the very end. To accommodate the plethora of questions and topics, AIF BAYP hosted a forum on its Facebook page.

For more of Krittika and Shipra’s work, download “The Modern Indian” podcast and follow their stories at www.themodernindianmedia.com

Participants who lingered posed for a group photo at the end, capturing the camaraderie the preceding hours had fostered.

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